Your blog has been up for about six months, and your traffic is hovering around ten unique visitors per day – on a good day. And you know that at least one of them is your mom.
Does this sound familiar?
In searching for an effective blog promotion strategy, you eventually realize that commenting on other blogs can be a good way of getting some attention.
So you make your list of the hottest blogs to be on, and subscribe to them all. You check in every day, read the posts diligently, and dutifully leave solid, interesting, and value-adding comments. But by the time you’ve done it, there are already fifty other comments on the post, and you get a click or two through to your blog, if you’re lucky.
Don’t despair – there’s a better way: embracing the nobodies!
“Embracing the Nobodies” is a concept borrowed from Guy Kawasaki’s new book Enchantment. Rather than chasing after the Technorati Top 100, go after the blogs that are in the same position as you – they’re just starting off, their traffic is modest, and they’re getting a handful of comments per post.
It’s All About Share of Voice
The reason why this makes sense is that even though the blog’s audience is a lot smaller, you get a much larger share of voice.
Think about it like this. Sure, there may be tens of thousands of people reading a post on a major authority blog, and that’s a big, attractive audience. But if you’re one of a hundred comments, then you’re only 1% of the comment pool, and only the most hardcore readers are likely to read every single one of those comments.
In contrast, if you’re one of ten comments on a small blog, then you represent 10% of the comment pool (20%, really, because half of them are probably the blog owner’s responses). Everyone who reads the post and likes it is likely to scroll down far enough to see if there are any good comments, and so they’re likely to notice you.
Speaking for myself, I consistently find that I get as much or more traffic from a comment on iMarketingHacked, Pocket Changed, or Corporate Radical as I do from a comment on Copyblogger or Problogger.
But It Isn’t Really About the Comments
Let’s be honest – a few clicks through to your blog are always nice, but that’s not what this is really about. What it’s really about is relationships.
When you leave a comment on a big authority blog, the blogger may respond, but you’ll have to leave a lot of memorable comments for them to remember you, and for a relationship to start to form.
With a smaller blog, because you represent a larger share of voice, you get noticed a lot faster. Commenting on small blogs can lead to collaborations like guest posting (we’ve had several very successful guest posts on Firepole Marketing that came about in this way).
When guest posting, you both want to make a good impression, so you both promote the post, and you both end up getting more traffic than you otherwise would – and often it’s traffic that sticks!
Where to Find the Small Blogs
So far so good, but where do you find these blogs? That’s easier said than done – after all, if they were at the top of the Google rankings, or you knew their names off the top of your head, then they wouldn’t be small!
Here is a procedure that you can follow to find good partners: start by visiting your favorite authority blogs – the really big players in your space. Then scroll down to the comments, and click through to the websites of everyone who left a comment. Make a list of the ones that meet these criteria:
1. The content is good. This is critical – you want a blog that is small because it is still growing, not a blog that is small because it sucks. If you don’t like the content and won’t enjoy reading it, then move on.
2. Their content is related to your content. In other words, this blog’s audience could be your audience, and vice versa.
3. Posts on the blog are getting between 5 and 15 comments on average. That’s small enough that your presence will be noticed and impactful, but big enough to show that they know what they’re doing, and they’re going to grow.
4. You can subscribe to the blog in a way that works for you. I eliminate any blog that I can’t subscribe to via email, because my workflow relies on email updates. Whatever method works for you, make sure they support it.
Then go ahead and start commenting, but please start right here on this post – I promise to click through and look at every site that leaves a comment, and I’ll follow the ones that I like!
What do you think of this strategy? Have you tried it? Are you going to? How could you make it better?